we were almost there, when joshua stopped and turned off the engine.
“why are we stopping?” he was supposed to drop me off at home. i would get out and wish him a good night as usual. and then, he would drive off and leave me in the cold, again.
but he stopped.
“when you have the choice, are you a runner or an engager?”
“erm… i’m not sure if i can answer that.” but i knew i could.
“why are you smiling?”, he asked.
“oh, nothing. it’s just that you’re the first one to ask me something like that.” something truly meaningful. “what would you do?”
“i think i’m more of a freezer. you know. i would probably just stand there, paralyzed and wait for something to happen.”
i love you.
i wanted to tell him, as he looked at me in the dark like no one ever had. for the first time, someone actually saw me for who i really was.
you wait for me to say it.
i love you.
“you’re good in a crisis, then.”, i said and he smiled. “how come you ask me stuff like that, anyway?”
“when you told me about your ex, yesterday; it just made me think. he was definitely a runner. who are you?”
i’m afraid to engage – life has taught me not to. whenever i talked back, they didn’t listen. whenever i asked them why, they had no answers. whenever i confessed my love, it has never been returned.
believe me, joshua – when i tell you that i have an honest answer for you. but right now, i just can’t do better than this.
“i guess that makes me a pleaser, then”
if you want me to run, i’ll run. if you expect me to fight back, i’ll try to, even if it destroys me.
he nodded slowly with a voiceless chuckle that sounded more like a sigh to me.
“well, i should get home. i’ll just walk the rest.” i opened the door a crack. the freezing winter air streamed in.
“right. have a good night.”
“yeah. you, too.”
i smiled goodbye and shut the door behind me. only the turning tires’ quiet crackle made me realize:
i’m not a pleaser. i’m a runner. i’m running from love.
but when i turned around, joshua was already gone and the car’s headlights had left behind bare darkness.